Coalition Spotlight: Melanie Mendel
Our October Coalition Spotlight is on Melanie Mendel, new Veteran Service Officer in Stoneham
We asked Melanie to tell us a little bit about her background and how her position aligns with the mission of the Stoneham Coalition.
"First, I just want express how excited I am to be working for the Town of Stoneham. It is a wonderful community and I am honored to have been chosen as the Veteran Service Officer.
A little about myself: I was born and raised in California but have called Massachusetts my home for the last 9 years with my daughter Laila. I enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2009 as a Signals Intelligence Analyst. In 2013 I enlisted in the Air Force Reserve as a Cyber Systems Operator and later was accepted to join the Air Force Chapel Corps as a Religious Affairs airman. Most recently I have been chosen by my command to serve in the Equal Opportunity office to ensure that Airmen are able to rise to their highest potential free from barriers such as unlawful discrimination, harassment, or reprisal. I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University Massachusetts in Lowell as well as a Master of Education in School Counseling from Merrimack College.
As the Veteran Service Officer here in Stoneham, some of the services that I provide to our veterans are a need-based financial and medical benefit (M.G.L. c. 115), help filing VA claims, Veterans’ Bonus, Tax Exemptions, Annuities, Education Benefits, Housing, Job Search, Medical Care Referrals, Military Records, Military Ceremonies, and food delivery from a local food bank just to name a few.
My goal is to reach every veteran in Stoneham to bring further awareness of the benefits that are available to them and to build trusting relationships with them. Building a trusting relationship is important because when a veteran is in a time of need, they would be more apt to entrust me to get them the appropriate help and use me as an advocate. Depending on a veteran’s history, there is potential to be at risk for substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide due to increased instances of PTSD, traumatic brain injury, depression, and anxiety in service members. I hope to use my influence and outreach as an outlet to reach veterans who are suffering and get them the appropriate help that is necessary in order to keep them safe and a healthy member of our community. "
Thank you for your service to the Stoneham Community, Melanie!